Tag Archives: john evans

On Our Nightstand, October 5th-11th

Here’s what we’re reading this week at Diesel!

Anna in Brentwood
Half Empty
By David Rakoff
As in his previous collection–Don’t Get Too Comfortable, one of my favorite books of essays ever–the pieces in this book delve into a vast array of subjects with Rakoff’s perversely reassuring pessimism.

Grant in Oakland
Zero Decibels: The Quest for Absolute Silence
By George Michelsen Foy
A personal journey through one of the noisiest places on earth – New York City – and its opposites – a snowy forest, an underground mine, an anechoic chamber – in search of absolute silence and what that means.

John Evans
Introduction to Sufism: The Inner Path of Islam
By Eric Geoffroy
Why not take a good look at the heart of Islam and its messages of universal tolerance, love, and peace? I can’t think of a reason.

John Peck in Oakland
The Scott Pilgrim Series
By Bryan Lee O’Malley
Little graphic novels that somehow manage to be simultaneously escapist and true-to-life.

Miles in Malibu
The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work
By Alain de Botton
The world is full of man-made things. Every day, we use, eat, see, buy, and sell man-made things. But who are these “men,” and how does “making” “things” affect their lives and the lives around them? De Botton’s meditation on labor and laborers paints a portrait of the faceless manufacturers of our everyday commodities.

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On Our Nightstand, September 14th-20th

Here’s what we’re reading this week at Diesel!

Anna in Brentwood
Gunn’s Golden Rules
By Tim Gunn
Tim Gunn, how are you so awesome? This book is partly a 21st century etiquette manual advocating basic human decency, partly a peek into the oddities of the world of fashion, and partly a series of autobiographical anecdotes. In its entirety, it is utterly charming.

Cheryl in Brentwood
Kitchen Confidential
By Anthony Bourdain
Bourdain’s classic restaurant expose almost makes me want to be a chef, but the fact that they work 12-hour days on their feet, with maybe one day off a week, and labor in a sweltering kitchen, makes me thankful I work in a bookstore.

Grant in Oakland
Alive in Necropolis
By Doug Dorst
By mixing together the tropes of ghost story, detective noir, and coming-into-adulthood narratives, Alive in Necropolis plays with the notion of what makes us human, given that Dorst’s undead are often more humane than the living.

John Evans
The Interloper
By Antoine Wilson
Just finished local author Antoine Wilson’s wonderful, not-to-be-forgotten novel. Writing the way it is supposed to be done–craftily, engagingly, intelligently.

Miles in Malibu
Why We Fight
Edited by Simon Van Booy
Why We Fight is a collection of passages culled from a number of texts (ranging from the Bible to present day writers such as Thich Nhat Hanh), all dealing with the history and philosophy of fighting. Each passage is concisely prefaced in an insightful manner by novelist and editor Simon Van Booy, making the heavy subject matter easier to digest.

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The Eye of the Holder

This month at Diesel, we’re celebrating Beautiful Books. Books not just as things you can read, but as glorious objects—for example, ones that fit in the palm of your hand, a style John Evans pays tribute to:

I’ve always loved the intimacy of smaller format books, that fit in the hand, in the pocket, in the eye. Books are ultimately a subtle magic composed of ink, paper, and light. Whether reading Emerson’s essays in a used compact edition published by Collins–the original Collins, from Glasgow, Scotland–or the first reading of Whitman‘s Leaves of Grass in an equivalent American publisher’s seductive and handy edition, I’ve been hooked on this delicate crafting of books for the itinerant traveler.

Read the rest of his appreciation here, and check out the videos we’ll be adding throughout the month, such as Cheryl‘s exploration of texture:

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Hungry For the Wolf

We’re celebrating our favorite small presses this month–those unusual imprints that bring us unique titles, beautifully presented. Check out John Evans‘ introduction to Graywolf Press–and look for more videos later in the week!

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On Our Nightstand, August 17th-23rd

Here’s what we’re reading this week at Diesel!

Anna in Brentwood
Night of the Living Trekkies
By Kevin David Anderson and Sam Stall
Laugh all you want (I can totally hear you!), but it’s the best zombie book I’ve read since World War Z. And it’s hilarious. So actually, you really can laugh.

Geo in Brentwood
Riding Toward Everywhere
By William T. Vollmann
In this book, Vollmann does what he does best: immerse himself in some crazy experience so he can tell us about it. This time it’s illegal trainhopping. While it doesn’t make me want to risk my life on the rails, I do now fancy a nice little train trip up the coast.

John Evans
The Power of Place: Geography, Destiny, and Globalization’s Rough Landscape
By Harm J. De Blij
For readers of Thomas Friedman and Jared Diamond, a nuanced global perspective which furthers, and corrects, much of their writings. Leave it to a geographer to clarify overwhelmingly vast complexities.

John Peck in Oakland
The Turkish Cookbook: Regional Recipes and Stories
By Nur Ilkin and Sheilah Kaufman
Continuing my world culinary tour with this awesome and very complete cookbook. Contains beautiful photographs of both food and regions of Turkey.

Kim in Malibu
So Long, See You Tomorrow
By William Maxwell
Maxwell might be one of the best mid-century American writers you’ve never heard of, and this book, a slim novella that packs a hefty emotional punch, is quietly satisfying. It was written as the pseudo memoir of a man recounting the events of his childhood growing up in Illinois in the ’20s in the aftermath of a local murder, and, prepositional phrases aside, conjures up such a complex inner world for his characters, I find myself transported.

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The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning

John Evans reports:

Whether it is Socrates bemoaning the ascendancy of the book and its impact on oral culture, or the medieval fear of corruption that printed books could bring to the hearts and souls of readers, changes in cultural production always bring promises of utopia, fears of dystopia, and marketing ploys to excite and titillate. The end is never the end—people still tell stories, play music, read books, listen to LPs, and go to the movies—despite the purported extinction of each of these. The New York Times had a recent review of Andrew Pettegree‘s The Book in the Renaissance which is worth reading by the culturally engaged who like to watch the cultural wheels go round and round. As always, it’s good to tone down the sales pitch, smile at the fear mongering, and use your own discernment—which is more honest, more interesting, more attractive, more fruitful…?

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On Our Nightstand, July 27th-August 2nd

Here’s what we’re reading this week at Diesel!

Anna in Brentwood
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
By Truman Capote
This is embarrassing to admit, but I’ve never seen the 1961 movie nor read Capote’s 1958 novella. I’m loving the latter, and the accompanying short stories, however: they’re subtly insightful and sort of sneakily moving. I want to see the film now, but even more I want to read more of Capote’s work!

Colin in Oakland
Ghostwalk
By Rebecca Stott
I don’t usually read mysteries, but this book is really well written, evoking Cambridge, England, in the 17th century and weaving an atmospheric spell. Plus it features ghosts, romance, animal liberation terrorists, and Isaac Newton! What more could you want?

Geo in Brentwood
America Day by Day
By Simone de Beauvoir
In preparation for an upcoming road trip, I thought I’d learn about this ‘Great American Experience’ from a Frenchwoman.

John Evans
When That Rough God Goes Riding: Listening to Van Morrison
By Greil Marcus
One of the greatest contemporary musical visionaries gets the full treatment by one of our most fascinating cultural critics. Mystical music-making meets brilliantly visceral criticism–loving it!

Thea in Malibu
Eat, Pray, Love
By Elizabeth Gilbert
So I’m a little tardy hopping onto the bandwagon for this one, but better late than never. A soul-searching story of finding happiness and spirituality in different corners of the world, Eat, Pray, Love has made me think about where I find joy in my own life.

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